Andrew Johnson was born in 1808 to poor, uneducated parents in a small building that served as a kitchen to Casso's Inn in Raleigh, North Carolina. When Andrew was three, his father died after saving two of his wealthy employers from drowning in an icy pond. A few years later, Johnson's destitute mother apprenticed Andrew and his brother to a local tailor.
At age 15, Johnson and his brother got into a legal dispute with the tailor and ran away. Two years later, Johnson returned to Raleigh to try to settle the dispute. Then he led his mother and stepfather over the Appalachians here to Greeneville. From his humble beginnings, Johnson started on the road to independence and, eventually, the presidency of the United States.
"Yes I have wrestled with poverty, the gaunt and haggard monster; I have met in the day and night; I have felt its withering approach and its blighting influence..."
Andrew Johnson 1862